By Michael Brown
Sept 06, 2017
If you believe that technology is not going to impact your cleaning company, or that your cleaners are not using Facebook while on the jobsite, you probably don’t want to read this (just trying to save you time).
However, if you’re aware that your cleaners are using their smartphones at work, consider this: why not try to use this to grow your business? I don’t need to outline the benefits of technology — few would dispute its ability to unlock productivity and subsequent impact on growth. The larger topic to address is why so many business owners in the janitorial industry reject the idea of adopting technology.
Why do business owners reject technology in our industry?
Through hundreds (if not thousands) of conversations with owners of cleaning companies, in both large and small organisations, a major trend has surfaced: business owners are fearful that they won’t be able to master a new technology and will lose control or respect within their company.
It’s important to note that the fear of not learning as quickly as younger staff is valid and likely accurate. However, the most important thing to recognise is that this will not result in a negative outcome. There won’t be a loss of control or respect. In fact, quite the opposite happens. Employees feel better about working for a company that is not stuck in the 1980s. Technology can help your employees do their jobs easier, and if you deny that, you will be viewed as an unhelpful leader. The focus shouldn’t be on getting the most out of them — it should be on supporting them.
What if you don’t adopt technology in your business?
Simply put, business owners that do not embrace change will have their lunch eaten by forward-thinking competitors. We are seeing this daily in the industry — small- and mediumsized companies no longer compete on price but rather use technology as a competitive advantage. And while it’s a hard pill to swallow — knowing that a company with less experience could dominate and continually win contracts over your company because of their use of technology — it’s happening.
So, how can you get comfortable using technology in your janitorial business? Emotions drive our decisions as well as cloud our judgement. As crazy as this sounds, I am not a technical person — despite being the CEO of a technology company. My business partner loves gadgets and gizmos, whereas I am more business-focused and have been an owner of a cleaning company.
Trying to reframe my mind by saying ‘technology isn’t scary’, or ‘other people do it, so I have to’ didn’t help me at all. I had to get into my brain and think about my journey building companies to open my mind.
Think back to when you started your company. It was likely with minimal equipment (not properly outfitted to really provide good service,) and a true desire to grow your company. You probably worked crazy hours, went above and beyond for every single client, and would try anything to get a new client on board. Most importantly, you probably had no idea how to actually run a company, but you still pushed forward.
As the years went by, your company became increasingly successful, and your team got used to the challenges of running a cleaning company. As a result, less risks were taken. You are not as hungry to learn or succeed as you were when you first started – and that’s not uncommon. The issue here is that new companies pour into the industry every year, and each one is in the ‘hunger’ stage. That’s why they adopt technology quickly and have an instant edge over more mature companies.
Think about that. You are the only person who can change your mindset and make growth a priority in your company. Saying ‘I’m not tech savvy’ isn’t a real excuse. And whatever the excuse, it’s important to know that the reason you’re rejecting technology is likely because of your mindset.
The key takeaway here? There’s no reason to be embarrassed about fumbling with technology. Allow yourself the opportunity to get comfortable with it, and with the growth it can generate.